Funding

Eight former U.S. Secretaries of State jointly penned an op-ed in yesterday’s Politico calling for a drastic increase in U.S. global engagement:

We, former secretaries of state of different administrations and different political parties, and with differing views on many other issues, are nevertheless of one mind on this issue of critical importance to our country’s national security. We call on Congress to act accordingly and fund this critical need.

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In a brief profile published today, CQ.com noted the strong support State and Foreign Operations subcommittee chair Nita Lowey (D-NY) has long shown for diplomacy and foreign aid:

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The House Appropriations State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Subcommittee approved by voice vote this morning its FY 2010 draft spending bill. The measure would provide $600 million for State Department educational and cultural exchange programs, $62 million above the FY 2009 level but $33 million below the President’s FY 2010 request.

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By a vote of 235-187, the House passed yesterday a bill (HR 2410) to reauthorize funding for the State Department, as well as U.N. dues and other diplomatic programs. [Full text of the bill is available on GovTrack.]

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The House Appropriations Committee moved forward in the FY 2010 funding process today, reported the U.S. Global Leadership Campaign in its International Affairs Budget Update:

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The State Department and other diplomatic agencies would be authorized to receive approximately $18 billion in FY 2010 under legislation approved by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on May 20, CQ.com reports.

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The establishment of the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation, a strong authorization for State Department educational and cultural exchange programs, strengthening the Foreign Service, and expanding the Peace Corps are key components of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 (H.R. 2410) introduced yesterday by Rep. Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. This two-year authorization bill is meant to “shore up” U.S. diplomacy and development efforts for the future.

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In order to set a tone of budget responsibility and transparency, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton enhanced her leadership team by adding a second deputy security responsible for Management and Resources. The man appointed to that role, former director of the Office of Management and Budget Jack Lew, testified at two hearings on Capitol Hill today, first in front of the House Subcommittee for State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs, and later at the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. The purpose of Lew’s appearance before these committees was to discuss the principles and priorities that underlie President Obama’s FY 2010 international affairs budget request.

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The Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued on April 30 a report titled “Higher Education: Approaches to Attract and Fund International Students in the United States and Abroad.” The report offers no specific recommendations, but aims to offer better insight "on how higher education is used to advance public diplomacy and development assistance goals."

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The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the Obama Administration’s full account-level budget today. The administration’s request for Department of State educational and cultural exchange programs in FY 2010 is $633 million. This request is an increase of $95 million, or 17.7 per cent, over the estimated budget authority for FY 2009 of $538 million.

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